In about three weeks, our family will join our church on a Five Day Hunger Challenge.
Our church's focus this year is Reaching Farther, with an emphasis on reaching out to the poor and needy.
Through the Hunger Challenge, we will eat the same kinds of rations that the United Nations would give to a refugee for a week: 3 cups of dry oatmeal, 5 cups of dried beans and 5 cups of dried rice.
Our church provided two visuals on the stage this Sunday, one of the rations for a family of four, which they had to place them on top of crates so we could see them.
On the other side of the stage was a much larger pile of groceries, said to be a week's worth of groceries for the average family of four in the US. It was a sobering example; a small pile of food compared to a mass of food that seemed very wasteful to me.
The challenge is open to all ages and families. We are going to do it as a family. I am a little nervous because I don't know how the girls will do with day after day, meal after meal of rice, oatmeal and beans. I think the appeal will be OK in the beginning but by the end of the week, we may be at our wits end!
This is where family devotions and prayer will come in. I talked with S a bit about it today and she seemed receptive to the idea.
In the guidelines and information provided on-line by our church, they did say it was OK to tailor the challenge to our families, especially if there are dietary concerns/needs and food aversions. They also provided tips for parents and recipes, which I think will help. I do worry that the girls won't like the rice and beans and won't eat any of the food. We'll have to see.
At church we also saw video compiled by members of the body who tried out the Hunger Challenge. One little girl said she liked the food but would not want to eat like this all the time. A woman said that she was amazed by her 4-year-old's heart and how he was thinking about the people in these countries. A man said it was hard for him, as the head of the house, the provider, to imagine not being able to feed his family enough.
I was encouraged by the testimonies. I could see that the people learned from the challenge; have a better appreciation for what they have; have empathy for those who are going through this day after day; and saw their spiritual life grow.
I plan to journal our experience so stay tuned! We'll start Wed. Feb. 25 and end March 1. We will also be collecting the money we'd normally spend on groceries and eating out. At the end of the challenge we will pick a place or organization to donate the money to.
As our pastor said, we have time to prepare for this Hunger Challenge, figure out how we are going to do it, pray for it. But in many places in the world, people don't have time to prepare. They are put in situations where they are forced from their homes, into refugee camps and into poverty. Let us pray for them and find ways to reach farther.
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